Hook

5 10 2011

Awful news from Canon City … Hook is dead. According to the email, “He broke his neck when he escaped when they were trying to get him through a chute for gelding.”

Hook is the stallion that jumped out of the alley during sorting during the roundup, right before Cinch broke his neck. Hook also had jumped fences (at least two) shortly after he arrived at Canon City.

One of the big things our group members observed during the roundup was that most injuries – and Cinch’s death – occurred in the alley and chute during sorting and/or processing. That’s another thing we’ve added to our work in the MUST CHANGE category.

He had been a bachelor for at least a couple of years before he finally separated out Ember and Pinon last winter (2010), though he had briefly stolen Piedra and Sage before that before losing them back to Hollywood. Hook had been one of the “low men” bachelors, but in my experience, it’s those boys who have been able to quietly split off their mares. Soon after he went off from Steeldust’s band with Ember and Pinon, Hannah and then Sable (both just yearlings then) joined them. Fierro, likely sired by Mouse, joined the band on the Fourth of July last year, and, of course, Hook raised him like his own.

He got ever so much more attention when he became a band stallion, and I could always see the confusion in him about the attention.

Twister had his full attention on the band when he got hurt this summer, about a week after Indy was born …

Hook was another stallion that people connected with because of his obvious desire to be wild. He will never be forgotten, and his spirit will live on in his foals, when they’re born. Hannah, Sable and Ember all found good homes (Ember and Sable together). I always wondered whether he was related to Comanche, at least. Will never know, but I hope it’s true.

I’m still thinking of a longer photo tribute to Cinch, so I’ll try to put together a combined one now for these two Spring Creek Basin stallions that meant so much to all of us.





Heaven in a meadow

4 08 2011

The northwest “meadow” is the new east pocket.

There’s grass. There’s water.

Horses are there.

Four beautiful bands … and Kreacher’s – and Duke – were just to my left.

Beautiful day. How could I have thought he wouldn’t still be there?





Some to love

27 06 2011

It occurred to me that I wouldn’t get any of these posted if I tried to do them in some kind of order – the always way of it these days – so here are some pix of some horses … Beautiful, all.

Houdini and Deniz.

I’ve been expecting the usual migration westward as the forage and water grows scarce back in the east. One of the two ponds back there is holding pretty steady, though, so several bands are (still) taking advantage of it. Grey/Traveler’s band, however, had made the trip, and I found them at afternoon water in the Wildcat Spring area. There’s enough water there this year – interestingly – that there are some stagnant pockets of it along the wash. I heard the girls (Terra, Gemma and Corona) playing in one such puddle, though I couldn’t get a clear look at them because of the obscuring greasewood on the banks. Mama and baby and Grey were above the arroyo. Deniz is going grey fast, like sister Gemma. She’s a big tall girl, eh?

Baby girls Briosa, left, and Eliana, with Bri’s mama Piedra in the background. Eli’s mama Mahogany was grazing down to the right (a pic is with the “Oppose sterilization” post of a few days ago). I wanted my wide-angle lens for, well, not the first time, I guess, to try to capture some of the beautiful background of the basin “behind” the fillies as they napped.

There’s some of it behind Hollywood, who was, I think, watching Aspen and Sundance, close-ish again. In the near background is part of the north side of the east-west hill, and in the far-ish background (not all the way back) is part of what I call Lizard Mesa.

Eli gives Bri a little post-nap nuzzle. They’re now at the age to be interested in each other. Bri, not quite a month older than Eli, is considerably bigger and stouter.

Sunny little Eliana is just a beautiful little princess of a filly.

Piedra was closest, and after she got up, Bri walked right over for a snack. Eli lingered, though, taking her sweet time walking down the slope, stopping, looking at mama, at stepdaddy (Sundance is Eliana’s sire), at me, back at Bri … before finally going on down for her own lunch. Bri’s a stout little girl, eh? Takes after daddy.

Speaking of daddies, here’s Varoujan with his daddy – Butch.

And with mama.

Kreacher’s band weren’t too far, and I waited for them, too, to mosey their way up to, across and off the road (it was like rush hour out there! 😉 ). This was a horizontally shot image I took through the passenger-side window and cropped into a vertical. I also took the image a post or so back of Apollo looking through his legs horizontally and cropped it vertically. I crop almost all my photos – some more than others.

Heading out of the basin for the evening: Hook’s band. I couldn’t decide between this one and …

… this one. Ponies gilded with light, those hills in the back! The near-ish hills are part of Spring Creek Basin, our northwest hills; the far-ish hills to the sky are outside the basin but still part of Disappointment Valley, basically, the far northeastern edge (the basin is tucked a little lower into the valley’s east-northeastern side). From left: black Sable and grey Twister, hanging with the band; almost yearling Fierro looking toward the camera and dark bay Pinon behind him; grey Ember, bay Hannah and Hook. Ember is due close to any time now.





Miscellaneous

12 06 2011

If you haven’t checked out the preliminary EA for our upcoming roundup, please do (give it a little while to come up – I’m on a fast connection, and it still took a few moments to appear). I’m still wading through it – so far, the first half-dozen pages are already littered with my sticky notes.

“Alternative 1 – Proposed Action” (Page 10) is what we want to support at this time. The information to comment by the deadline – July 11 – is here.

“Alternative 2” is a waste of money given the timing of the roundup and the lack of efficacy of PZP-22 here in the past during the same relative timing.

“Alternative 3” is simply unviable and would cause more harm to both the horses and the environment on which they depend.

We will continue to push bait trapping rather than helicopters for the future – as we have the last almost-four years – but for now, and with no movement on that front, we’re nearing a critical point between population and limited resources. At least five of our ponds are already dry, and the remaining ponds are shallow, which will eventually leave 80+ horses trying to get salty water from trickling seeps and springs or the one fresh-water source – the catchment. After the roundup, with a fertility-control plan firmly in place (for at least the next five years), we’ll continue to push bait trapping (and figure out the infrastructure necessary) as well as more and better quality water sources.

BLM plans a 60% stallions to 40% mares gender-skewed ratio. While we do not agree with this avenue of management, particularly in light of the PZP plan to be put in place, given everything else, it’s not a battle we plan to fight right now. Because of lack of knowledge on BLM’s part, it was 56%/21% after the 2007 roundup. All things considered, 60%/40% doesn’t seem so bad. Over the course of the years of PZP application, we’ll watch to see how that evens out and what it means to the herd as a whole, and perhaps in the future, we can nix that particular demand.

If anyone has questions, please leave a comment or email me at mtbgrrl (at) fone (dot) net.

Now some pix, in no particular order:

Juniper and mama Kestrel looking at daddy Comanche.

Handsome young Twister. He’s hanging out with Hook’s band now. He looks so much like Grey/Traveler, it’s amazing.

This was taken the next day and shows Twister, butt to the camera at left, with Hook’s band – that’s big grey Hook standing by Sable, heavy-pregnant Ember (due around early July), Hannah and Fierro. Pinon also is part of this band (he was off to the right, I think). In the background, Spook and Bruiser. A bit to the left were Seven’s, out as far as Spook and Bruiser but to the right were Bounce’s, and behind and leftish were Sundance and Aspen. Rarely are so many of our horses in the same general area except in the spring, when they’re back here with good forage and fairly good water. In fact, two of the remaining four ponds with water are back in this general area. Another reason to have good, scattered water sources – disperse the horses’ grazing.

Cuatro watching after his bachelor pals, a new generation of bachelors now that many of our bachelors have found mares. By pushing back the frequency of roundups by using PZP, I hope to see a clearer, more settled pattern of band dynamics emerge without the interruption of devastating roundups. We have several small bands now; I’ve heard people say there used to be just a few bands, but the were much larger (more horses). I wish I knew then the number of bachelors floating around. Most bands now have at least one foal, but only one band has two foals.

Look at these two handsome, oh-so-innocent devilishly sweet boys. That’s Ze, Seven’s son, on the left and Sage, Hollywood’s son, on the right. they’re hanging out with Cuatro and Milagro now – minus Duke. Milo stood either with his butt to me or nearly out of sight behind the bigger boys. They’re all 2, born between early April and early July; Ze and Sage are clearly the leaders, and between them, I tend to think Sage has a bit of an edge. Both going grey (as is Cuatro), but Ze’s holding his brown a lot longer. Sage clearly favors his beautiful mama, Piedra, but he’s stout like papa Hollywood.





Contact

24 05 2011

A couple of “miscellaneous” and several from an evening.

Piedra and Briosa looking south … I think that vibrant green cottonwood makes the whole scene. 🙂

Ties of family are strong, blood or no. Liberty and her mother, Molly, spent time with Bounce’s band shortly before Molly died in the fall of 2009. Afterward, Liberty went back to the band … then ended up with Cinch in the fall of 2010. Gaia ended up with them over the winter (January 2011?). Gaia is 3 (Alegre’s daughter, Bounce’s stepdaughter), Liberty is 2 (Seven x Molly). It’s not a huge surprise these girls ended up back together. 🙂

Sundance and Hollywood in sync.

I ended up right on the road in a great position to watch some awesome dynamics playing out. From a distance, I had seen Sundance (recently separated from Mahogany, Eliana and Aspen) with Sage and Ze, two young (2 years old) bachelors. Hollywood’s were close – as were Hook’s band.

Hook

Hollywood

Double trouble on the bubble – Sage and Ze wisely kept their distance, but all the boys – and girls – were well aware of them.

Sisters Hannah (bay) and Ember

Part of the magnificent background of Spring Creek Basin – Knife Edge, McKenna Peak and the unnamed promontory …

Hook’s band – Brumley Point in the background …

Fierro, Hannah and Sable. Hollywood actually stole Hannah briefly when she was a yearling (by briefly, I mean around an hour or so). That was shortly before she followed sister Ember and half-brother Pinon to Hook’s band … followed shortly thereafter by Sable.

Hollywood about to greet Pinon …

Hollywood left Piedra and Briosa for quite a long while during this melee … He later chased Sundance far to the east, and Hook’s and Sage and Ze eventually followed, and Holls eventually went back to his girls.

What a day!





Beauty in nature

1 04 2011

How many ways can I say it?

Let the magic speak for itself!

Mahogany’s, left, and Hook’s. This is taken from almost as far east as you can get in the basin – below the eastern ridges – looking west-northwest. They had been napping earlier … and later ended up separated again.

Pretty darn beautiful, eh?





Patience

8 03 2011

A scattering of pix in this post … mostly it struck me how intent Fierro was on the goings-on, despite his family – and Steeldust – keeping him safely out of the fray.

The little guy with auntie Hannah (mama Ember’s little sister).

With other auntie Sable (mama’s little half-sister).

With Uncle Pinon (mama’s half-brother). I’m not at all sure why Pinon didn’t join the games … I suspect it has a little to do with the little mister and possibly a little more to do with the girls. He’s very attached to Ember – year-mates. Probably the only reason Hook tolerates him in the family … and I wonder, too, how long that will last … and until Pinon finds himself with Twister and Co. (or?) …

Hook and Fierro, Hannah, Sable and Ember below. Fierro had earlier tried to snuggle up to Hook, but Hook wasn’t having any of it at the time. Here, Hook walked up to Fierro, who is now looking back at stepdaddy’s attention.

Luna and Alpha trying their best to catch some shut-eye with all the goings-on (across the arroyo to the left). This was just after Butch had rejoined Luna after his little foray with the boys. Luna looks decent for a girl who has had multiple foals in a row (this will be her fifth foal since I’ve known her (Kestrel, Ember, Hannah, Gideon). I’d love to give her a rest … She should stay, not only because of her outside genetics (she and two others came from Sand Wash Basin in 2001) but because of her wise alpha-mare status (like Alpha above her).

Some of the boys’ roughhousing brought them down into the arroyo and up the hill a bit, and Steeldust charged down in warning – you can maybe see a little of the dust obscuring the saltbush below him. I found it so interesting that he didn’t need to wade in – knew it was play – and he had his own role – protecting Alpha. What a dynamic this little band has. How long will it be before Storm leaves mama? Will Steeldust and Alpha and Butch and Luna stay together? Mahogany and Sundance and Aspen left … at whose instigation? Will Butch eventually challenge Steeldust for Alpha, too? Steeldust backed down to him last spring … but Butch was focused on Luna and never challenged for Alpha. And with Butch’s “must-be-at-her-side-always” style, how many mares does he think he can care for? I think Alpha will stay with Luna as long as possible.

When Storm and Twister resumed their play after their intermission and greeting of baby Gideon – and Mouse stepped in – Gideon retreated to mama. Check out his body language. Doesn’t it scream “little brother sent home”? 🙂 Patience, little.

Clearly still finding comfort with mama, who has just as clearly weaned him and wasn’t in the mood to baby him. He sought a snuggle, and she pinned her ears at him for his efforts. Though she didn’t mind his nearness – nor Butch’s, immediately on her other side. (I’m not sure I’d be less grumpy with a baby in the belly.)

Fierro was looking for somebody to “practice” on, and Sable seemed to fit the bill – at least briefly.

Twister and Cuatro walking up away from the arroyo. Storm followed closely – Duke and Mouse stayed below (grazing).  They paused at a stud pile – which Twister contributed to, which prompted yet another “discussion.” 🙂

Hook eventually chased his group away over the ridge and to the next ridge – which led to them going the opposite direction as the others ended up going. But that little Fierro just couldn’t get enough!

And Hook couldn’t resist a last look, either. 🙂